'NewsHour' boosts outreach

ARLINGTON, VA: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer's in-house communications staff is employing a media relations strategy, which is designed to promote its expanded global health coverage.

ARLINGTON, VA: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer's in-house communications staff is employing a media relations strategy, which is designed to promote its expanded global health coverage.

The NewsHour, which runs weeknights on PBS but is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, announced earlier this month that it won a $3.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a production unit focused on global health issues and how they are addressed by the US scientific and public policy communities. The grant will result in 40 to 50 documentary-style reports on “neglected diseases,” such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and measles, said Robert Flynn, VP of communications and marketing at The NewsHour and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.

Targets of the effort, which will continue through the three-year life of the grant, include both print and online media outlets that reach public policy opinion leaders, Flynn said. The effort's budget is undisclosed.

“[The Gates Foundation] is very interested in that the people making policy about global health are as well-informed as possible,” he noted, adding that The NewsHour's viewership is about evenly split between highly educated men and women.

The NewsHour hired Goodman Media International this summer to raise the show's profile. The agency will eventually also take part in the effort to promote the additional health coverage, said Tom Goodman, the firm's president and CEO. The agency has worked with The NewsHour on numerous projects over the past decade, he added.

The company and newscast do not have an AOR, Flynn said.

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